What Makes a Good Metal Post Processing Station?

By on August 3rd, 2022 in Hardware, news

Tags: , , , ,

The ENESKApostpro workstation [Source: Fabbaloo]

We took a look at the ENESKApostpro workstation.

Metal 3D printing is quite a bit different from typical polymer 3D printing in many ways. Because the metal parts are typically used for production, there is considerable more attention to quality control. The tremendous heat levels involved in the build process cause all kinds of issues, particularly in part warping, which must be addressed in one of several ways. Finally, there’s the post processing steps.

Typically metal 3D printers print on a metal plate as the build surface. This is done to create a strong point of contact to ensure the print does not move during printing. But it also means the part printed is literally fused to the plate: the plate and part are a single metal object when the print completes.

Then there are the support structures, also printed in metal, that must be removed. These can be significantly more than one would find on polymer prints because the metal supports are required to hold down portions that are predicted to warp during printing, and also carry away excess heat that might build up in certain regions during the print job.

The result is that workers have a challenging job to post process. After separating the print from the plate with a wire EDM device, the supports must be removed, excess powder extracted and surface finishing must be completed. Normally this requires multiple workstations and different types of equipment.

Inside the ENESKApostpro [Source: Fabbaloo]

That’s the issue being solved by Germany-based Joke Technologies (pronounced “Yo-Ke”), which has developed the ENESKApostpro workstation.

Deburring tool for use inside the ENESKApostpro [Source: Fabbaloo]

The idea is a that most or all of the post processing work can be done safely and efficiently from a single workstation that includes all necessary tools.

Chisel tool for use inside the ENESKApostpro [Source: Fabbaloo]

The ENESKApostpro includes an enclosed cabinet with large glass viewport. The operator stands outside — adjusting the workstation for their height — and uses sealed gloves to access the interior chamber.

Inside there are a variety of tools available, and the work surface includes a number of different approaches for solidly mounting the fresh metal print for processing.

Tool bits for use inside the ENESKApostpro [Source: Fabbaloo]

We were told the system protects 100% against powder exposure, which is always a problem with PBF 3D printing processes: while the machines insulate the operator from powder during printing, the post processing stages can be quite different.

Representatives suggested that post processing workers would no longer have to wear special suits to protect against powder exposure because they simply reach inside the ENESKApostpro and do their tasks. This is far more safe & efficient — and comfortable — than typical post processing setups.

The ENESKApostpro is quite sophisticated, as it includes a powder collection system. Finished parts will inevitably release some stray metal powders, and more will be produced as tools are applied to the print. The system is designed to prevent exposure and also prevent explosions, as some metal powders can be triggered. The ENESKApostpro has a complex powder collection system that does not expose metal powder to the atmosphere.

The ENESKApostpro is quite a capable device, but it is not inexpensive, with prices starting near €60K (US$62K).

Via Joke Technologies

By Kerry Stevenson

Kerry Stevenson, aka "General Fabb" has written over 8,000 stories on 3D printing at Fabbaloo since he launched the venture in 2007, with an intention to promote and grow the incredible technology of 3D printing across the world. So far, it seems to be working!

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *